Just in time for your holiday wish list, we bring you the best gear of the year. We also talk to Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony about the new Chickenfoot album, and interview Vince Gill about his new LP, Guitar Slinger-as well as his amazing vintage-guitar collection. In addition, we take you inside the new Chet Atkins exhibit at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, bring you an exclusive excerpt from photographer Neil Zlozower’s new book, Eddie Van Halen, and serve up a how-to on installing replacement pickups. To top it off, we profile Trev Wilkinson-designer of the Wilkinson tremolo and the new ATD HT440 self-tuning bridge-and look at how Paul Bigsby became one of the most innovative and revolutionary builders in modern guitar history. Gear reviews this month include the Egnater Tweaker-88, Perri Ink Protostar Custom, Carr Sportsman, Moog Moogerfooger MF-108M Cluster Flux, Traynor YBA300 and TC810, Rainsong S-OM1000N2, ESP James Hetfield Snakebyte, Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar, Peavey Session, and Bootleg Dawg Bass 4.
This year’s annual Amp Issue features a smorgasbord of invaluable knowledge for guitarists and bassists—from beginners to advanced players. For starters, AmplifiedParts.com’s tube guru Kurt Prange goes deep on power tubes, detailing the crucial tonal characteristics, important historical developments, and quintessential reference recordings for EL34, EL84, 6L6, 6V6, KT88, and KT66 valves. Then Mark Gooday, founder of Ashdown Engineering and former head engineer at Trace Elliot—two of the most influential and highly respected new bass-amp companies of the last 30 years—demystifies power amp classes (A, B, and D), as well as how to read power ratings to ensure you get the tone and oomph requisite for your needs. PG Senior Editor Joe Gore’s The Recording Guitarist column also offers savvy tips for using popular plug-ins to generate stellar tones. Meanwhile, artist interviews this month include chats with former Gov’t Mule frontman and Allman Brothers all-star Warren Haynes, influential British guitarist Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention), fingerstyle acoustic guitarist Ryley Walker, and Ruban Nielson from garage-psych band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Our latest Forgotten Heroes installment takes a look at the fascinating life and enduring legacy of Pops Staples—an influential gospel guitarist and friend and contemporary of blues gods Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, and Albert King. Gear reviews this month include guitar and bass toys from Electro-Harmonix, Eden, TC Electronic, Ibanez, Fender, Orange, Aria, Fishman, and more.